In 1975, Rice came across a Scientific American article on tessellations. Despite having only a high-school education, she began devoting her free time to discovering new ways to tile the plane using pentagons. She developed her own system of notation to represent the constraints on and relationships between the sides and angles of the polygons and used it to discover three new types of tessellating pentagons and over sixty distinct tessellations by pentagons by 1977.  Rice's work was eventually examined by mathematics professor Doris Schattschneider, who deciphered the unusual notation and formally announced her discoveries to the mathematics community. 
- Doris Schattschneider. "In praise of amateurs." In David A. Klarner, editor, The Mathematical Gardner, pages 140–166. Prindle, Weber & Schmidt, Boston, 1981.
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